Anthropologie Is Focused On Tricking Out Your Pad, Not Filling Your Closet

Photo: Ray Tang/REX/Shutterstock.
Anthropologie plans to sell more dresser knobs and throw pillows, and less dresses. The Urban Outfitters-owned retailer plans to eventually have apparel account for less than half of its sales down the line, per Urban Outfitters' recent earnings call.

Clothing wasn't raking in the dough in 2015 for the retailer — it ended up deeply discounting garb, particularly sweaters and dresses, at the end of the year. (Great for shoppers, not so hot for the bougie boho retailer.)

"All product categories, except apparel, posted positive comparable sales," Urban Outfitters' CEO and president, Richard Hayne, said of Anthropologie's 2014 fourth-quarter sales.

But this shift from being primarily a clothing retailer to a competitor of Pottery Barn or West Elm isn't entirely out of the blue. A year and a half ago, Anthropologie announced that it would be opening a slew of locations (25 to 50, in total) clocking in at three times the square footage typically used for its outposts, in order to fit more home goods, and transition into a lifestyle brand.

"They want to turn them more into destination stores than clothing stores,” Howard Tubin, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, told Bloomberg in 2014 about Anthropologie.

The company doesn't currently have plans to do away with its wearable offerings; it's just counting more on shoppers coming in for mismatched flatware and, "Maybe I bought this from an artisan in an obscure village on my Eat, Pray, Love-type self-discovery adventure"-worthy duvet covers.

We wouldn't be surprised, though, if the retailer did eventually become a housewares-only spot. After all, Urban Outfitters has its fashion-focused namesake store as well as Free People to help with filling up customers' closets, but only a stroll through Anthropologie is that effective at highlighting the shortcomings of one's own dwellings.

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